Yep, you read that right: nearly one-quarter of adolescents in the United States have diabetes or prediabetes. That just about — not quite — leaves me speechless. Twenty-five percent of our nation’s youth are facing a life of carb counting, potential health complications, and increased risk factors for heart disease, just to name a few of their issues. If you have encountered the struggles of a life with diabetes, you can probably envision my heartache at reading those words. What are we doing wrong? This rate has dramatically increased from nine percent in 2000, a mere 12 years ago. That means we are raising up children with a grim future, but how?
According to the article, “Deeb says other research suggests there will be “a 64% increase in diabetes in the next decade,” which is even higher than the predicted increase in obesity, “because stress on the pancreas and insulin resistance catches up with people. We are truly in deep trouble.” That means we need to make changes now to our eating habits, activity levels and, in my opinion, the outside toxins entering our lives through pesticides, chemicals in care products, and GMO foods.
One endocrinologist says we just need to push our kids to higher activity levels. That could be, because we are certainly seeing a downward trend in overall activity levels, but is that the whole picture? Is one simple step going to reverse this terrifying trend? I am reminded of the people in the movie Wall-E, where they have been sitting down their entire lives and are big marshmallow-like globs of flesh with no muscle tone and not even the ability to stand. Are we headed in that direction?
I suspect there is more to this epidemic — and there is no question we are facing a massive epidemic — than just diet and exercise. More than just high carb, highly processed foods, I have a hunch that there is something else going on with our food that is causing this tragedy. Take a look at what else has dramatically increased in the past decade:
And even though we were supposed to have the benefit of less need for pesticides with GMOs, GM crops are causing a rise in pesticide use, so we not only have strange things going on with our food, but also even more pesticides to be poisoned by. There may not be a correlation between increased GMOs and diabetes, but it sure bears looking into.
In the meantime, we owe it to our children to figure out what is making them sick. No matter which way you call it, diabetes is an illness. It lessens our quality and length of life. We can fix this, and we have to start with our kids. They’re worth so much more than that.